Established in 1997, the Tesco banking business employs thousands of staff in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle.
Established in 1997, the Tesco banking business employs thousands of staff in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle.

Edinburgh-based Tesco Bank’s chief executive Gerry Mallon described the acquisition of Ageas’s holding in Tesco Underwriting as a “significant step” in the financial division’s development.

Tesco Bank will acquire Ageas’s 50.1 per cent stake in the underwriting joint venture for a total of £104 million plus Ageas’s part of any change in net asset value realised by Tesco Underwriting from 30 June until closing of the deal. In addition, Ageas will receive a reimbursement of an internal loan for an amount of £21m.

The bank said all parties would work closely “to ensure a smooth transition” ahead of the formal change in control, which is expected to take place in the second quarter of 2021.

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Bosses said the partnership had been valuable for both Tesco Bank and Ageas since the joint venture was established ten years ago, underwriting Tesco Bank-branded car and home insurance policies that have “proved popular with customers”. In 2014, the partnership was extended for a further seven years, to 2021.

The bank added: “This investment is in line with Tesco Bank’s strategy of focusing on propositions which better meet the needs of Tesco shoppers, and builds on the unique offering insurance customers already benefit from as part of the wider Tesco family, such as the guaranteed Clubcard discount.”

Ageas is to focus on developing its core business and broker distribution channel.

Mallon said: “[This] announcement is a significant step in Tesco Bank’s development which underlines our commitment to the insurance market and our customers.

“We look forward to doing more of what we know our customers want – offering products that have a strong emphasis on value,

LONDON (Reuters) – Dave Lewis steps down on Wednesday after six years as Tesco chief executive, during which he got Britain’s biggest retailer back on track after an accounting crisis, leaving new challenges for his successor Ken Murphy.

Murphy, 53, who was formerly at healthcare group Walgreens Boots Alliance

, faces the long-term impact of the coronavirus crisis, a recession and possible disruption when Britain’s Brexit transition period finishes at the end of 2020.

Tesco was on its knees shortly after former Unilever executive Lewis, 55, joined in 2014 when an accounting scandal knocked millions off its profits and billions off its share price.

But by October last year, Lewis declared Tesco’s turnaround complete, its position as clear market leader among Britain’s supermarket groups reinforced.

Lewis received a total pay package of 6.4 million pounds ($8.2 million) in 2019-20.

Murphy, an Irishman who is taking on his highest profile business role, starts as Britain’s supermarkets have seen grocery sales boosted by the pandemic, both in stores and online, but have also seen a big increase in costs.

There are also fears that the pandemic-induced recession will spark a margin damaging price war.

After Lewis sold Tesco’s businesses in Thailand and Malaysia, and in Poland, Murphy will have to decide the future of its central European division, with stores in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia, its only remaining overseas supermarket operations apart from Ireland.

A week after Murphy starts, analysts expect Tesco to report second quarter UK like-for-like sales growth similar to the first quarter’s 8.7%, but anticipate increased costs will drag down core earnings.

Murphy’s appointment at Tesco follows Simon Roberts taking over as CEO at arch rival Sainsbury’s

in June. It means that Britain’s two biggest supermarket groups will be run by Boots alumni, who know each other

Tesco will now expand plant-based options in all its stores. Photo: PA
Tesco will now expand plant-based options in all its stores. Photo: PA

Tesco (TSCO.L) is pledging to boost sales of plant-based meat alternatives by 300% within five years, by 2025, as part of a raft of sustainability measures.

Tesco will be the first UK retailer to set a sales target for meat alternatives.

The UK’s largest supermarket said demand for chilled meat-free foods has risen by almost 50% over the past year. This has prompted Tesco to broaden its meat-free range into more categories and offer larger “centrepiece” dishes for two people as well as family-sized portions.

The 300% target is part of a number of sustainability measures created in collaboration with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) that aim to halve the environmental impact of the average UK shopping basket.

READ MORE: Vegan meat replacements to make up 60% of global market by 2040

The coronavirus lockdown has meant more people are paying closer attention to their diet, according to Tesco, and increasingly adopting “flexitarian” diets — eating less meat and dairy and replacing them with more plant-based foods.

The most popular meat-free products currently include burger, sausage and mince substitutes, the retailer said.

Global demand for plant-based protein — dominated by US food companies Impossible Burger and Beyond Meat (BYND) — is predicted to be £4.1bn ($5.3bn) this year, up from from £2.9bn in 2015. Beyond Meat announced plans to open its first factory in Europe, marking its first push into overseas production, in June.

Tesco was the first UK retailer to launch an own-label plant-based range, Wicked Kitchen, in January 2018. The company will now expand plant-based options in all its stores, across 20 different categories including ready meals, party food and frozen food.

READ MORE: Cheapest supermarkets to shop as a vegan

Dave Lewis, who